Spherical Music was written in 1985 as part of an electronic piece called The Garden of Cyrus. (A recording of that piece is available on my CD Overstepping.) At the time, I made a version for twelve marimbas which Daniel Druckman recorded and performed with eleven parts on tape. In 1998, Danny called and asked me to make a version for twelve players on six marimbas. I made substantial revisions in the orchestration for this version, and I think it’s beginning to approach what I was hoping for it to be in the first place: an algorithmic music where the rule-based events feel like more than mere arithmetic, where they become a kind of magic numerology.
There’s a quotation from the Divine Comedy that embodies what I was aiming for when I wrote the piece:
E come l’alma dentro a vostra polve
per differenti membra e conformate
a diverse potenze si resolve,
così l’intelligenza sua bontate
mulitiplicata per le stelle spiega,
girando sé sovra sua unitate.
Dante, Paradiso II: 133-138
And as the soul within your dust is shared
by different organs, each most suited to
a different potency, so does that Mind
unfold and multiply its bounty through
the varied heavens, though that Intellect
itself revolves upon its unity.
In addition to the original electronic version available on Overstepping, Jane Boxall’s solo marimba version of the piece is available here. Al Cerulo’s multiple instrument arrangement and recording is posted as part of my ongoing project A Book of Days. You can listen to it by visiting March 3rd.
Here’s the score of the 1998 twelve players on six marimbas version. When you purchase the materials through Paypal below, you will receive all the materials necessary to perform the piece.
If you want to do a solo version, you will first want to record all twelve parts and then mute the parts you want to play live. Here’s one possible solo version of the piece. However, once you’ve spent the time recording all twelve parts yourself, you are likely to have your own favorite path through the piece, so I encourage you to make your own solo performance version. If you want the score in Finale, XML, or MIDI format to make editing your own version easier, please request it when you order the materials.
Normally, we charge $35 for the performing materials, but in these pandemic days, I’ve set the price to pay as you like. You are warmly invited to support this very low-key way of publishing: